Thursday, March 24, 2016

Wrapping Things Up

We wrapped up a lot of work today.  The timing couldn't have been better.  I didn't plan for these things to work out this way, but they did.  Today was our last day of school before our spring break.

Today Me Too spontaneously asked if he could do his racks and tubes equations on paper instead of with the material.  He said he thought "it would be faster."  Above is the first equation he did.  He did it on his own, and abstractly.  We celebrated HARD.  I don't have to help my kids move the beads on those boards ever again!   I am so happy.  I am apparently past the sensitive period for helping kids move beads on boards.

Kal-El finished the last of the logical analysis cards in the ETC sentence analysis set.  He found them very difficult when he started them and now finds them easy.  These cards ask you to read one of Aesop's fables, find a sentence that meets their criteria, and analyze the sentence with the box of arrows.  It would say things like, "Read The Fox and the Crow and find a sentence that has at least a simple subject, simple predicate, and an adverbial of degree."   Now that he's finished with these we will work through the ETC 9-12 Grammar Curriculum cards.  I blogged about how I am using those here.  We'll be getting into verb tenses very quickly.

Kal-El also finished Vocabu-Lit: Building Vocabulary Through Literature: Book D (this link and those that follow are affiliate links) today.  I mentioned a different day that he had decided that instead of alternating vocabulary and spelling throughout the year, he wanted to just get the vocabulary workbook finished and then do the spelling.  He will now get back into All About Spelling after the break.  

Today we finished all of the work I had planned on levers.  Levers was the first and most complicated section of the simple machine work we are doing.  We can move on to inclined planes after the break and that and the rest of the work should go relatively quickly.  I have been working on a post about our levers work as we have been going along.  I will post that after the break so that everyone doesn't miss it while enjoying some time off.

We also completed the section in the KotU albums on wind this week.  I'm excited to move on to water.  We'll be busy building our river model over the break.

We had a great week of school.  We learned how to do the geometric multiplication work on graph paper.  We also started operations with decimals.  We are so close to the end of our current Spanish package I can taste it.  I'm excited to move on into the next "learning system box" because I only ever used the first box when I taught school.  It will be fun to travel into some new territory.  We are enjoying being out of ancient history and into the Middle Ages with Story of the World.  I always wish that we would go through one book a year with this but it never happens.  For example, once we got to chapter three Christianity Comes to Rome we became mired for weeks.  We are still working on it.  This took us down a long rabbit hole with several branches.  We are learning about medieval monasteries and the structure of the Catholic Church.  These leads us into Gregorian chant and also medieval book making.  The book making lead us into paper making and calligraphy.  The boys are working on making their own books.  They've made the paper, they are working on their calligraphy, and we have a kit for binding the books by hand.  They also plan to "illuminate" their manuscripts.  All of this, of course, led us into how the Bible came to us which lead us back to types of writing and the Rosetta stone.  Next thing I knew, I was giving the Fourth Great Lesson for the second time this year.  Like the levers, I have been writing a post on all of this as we go and will post it when they boys finish their books.  I find it more valuable to do the work they are interested in than get through SOTW on a schedule but we may be finishing the series when they are in college.


  1. blogger, or my poor internet connection, ate my comment. Arrr.

    Congratulations, to everyone, but especially you for exiting the racks and tubes. No more beads!! Do you have a feeling that the divisibility exercises helped their division abstraction with this material? Kal-El, already did the racks and tubes before doing the divisibility, right? I was wondering if divisibility would help T get through racks and tubes. He is almost there. Or do you feel that it was your boy's knowing their division facts. T definitely doesn't have those down. He just does reviews his multiplication facts. Ugh, and that takes a long time.

    Where did you see work with simple machines? How did you get onto this topic?

    That must feel so great to finally be DONE with certain subjects and able to MOVE ON!! What a great feeling.

    Also, let me know how your river construction goes. I need to make on of those one of these days too.

    1. Because the numbers were were using were so large in both the dividend and divisor I don't don't think it was our divisibility lessons. That would have relied consistently on the prime factors rule and it is faster to estimate multiply than factor tree both numbers. I think it was the strength of their ability to do the multiplication in their head to estimate and on paper to record the partial products that made it easy. I supposed it had something to do with how we verbalized what we were doing as we recorded each step on paper while doing the racks and tubes as well.

      I saw the simple machines on a couple of Montessori classroom blogs years ago and have had them in the back of my mind since. The Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding books we use have EXCELLENT Montessori-style presentations for this. i.e. the children discover the formula rather than have it told to them, etc.,

      It feels SO good to be moving on. I err toward going to slow/pedantic so it's nice to be moving into new categories of work.

      I start river construction on Monday. Believe me, I have combed our state trying to find an already existing working river model in a nature museum somewhere to no avail. Oh well. I'll let you know how it goes.

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